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Top Ten Tips for Faster, Easier Holiday Entertaining
(ARA) Ė When you think of the holidays, what comes to mind? For some, itís spending time with loved ones, traditional family meals and joyful gift giving occasions. For others, itís the cooking, cleaning and toiling that comes with having holiday guests. There are numerous tips and tricks to help you save valuable time when preparing for the upcoming festivities.
A recent study by BISSELL Homecare, Inc. found that, on average, 45 percent of women spend three to seven hours preparing their home for holiday guests, and another 29 percent spend eight or more hours preparing. Here are 10 tips from organizing and cleaning guru Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner, that can help you reduce the amount of time spent getting ready for the holidays, so you can spend more time enjoying them.
* Get started early. Make a list of tasks and check them off as you go. Some tasks such as dusting fan blades, polishing silver and ironing table linens can be done well in advance. You can even set your holiday table ahead of time. Plan to have everything done a day or two early so you can get into the holiday spirit and relax with your family and guests.
* Declutter. Keep in mind that ďless is more,Ē especially at the holidays. Now is a good time to donate some of your kidsí old toys and games -- and some of your own stuff. When you pull out holiday decorations, add the unused ones to the donations box and toss anything thatís worn or broken. Keep a list of what you donate and be sure to get a receipt for year-end tax purposes.
*Clean where it counts. Thereís no need to deep clean your house from top to bottom. But do yourself a favor and donít leave it to the last minute to clean your house. Do what you can now and then make an extra effort to keep it clean and picked up.
Focus your efforts on high traffic areas: kitchen, bathrooms, living rooms and family rooms. And donít forget to spruce up the guest room. Clear space in the closet and provide thoughtful amenities such as toiletries and magazines. Stock the guest bathroom with extra toilet paper and towels and make it sparkle.
In the family room and other high traffic areas, nothing freshens up a room like clean carpets and rugs. A great way to clean them yourself is with a deep cleaner such as the new BISSELL PROdry. It as convenient as a vacuum, but the combination of hot water and cleaning solution will make your carpet even cleaner. Plus, PROdry uses professional technology that not only cleans but allows carpet and rugs to dry in just 30 minutes. In the time it takes to bake a batch of your familyís favorite holiday cookies, your carpet and rugs will be clean and dry.
* Prepare as much food ahead of time as possible. Mix big batches of cookie dough and freeze in smaller batches that you can pop into the oven after dinner each night. Double or triple dinner recipes in the weeks leading up to the holidays; freeze the leftovers, and reheat for houseguests. Do prep work like chopping vegetables and mixing dips the day before guests arrive.
* The study found that 32 percent of women would do the dishes if they only had 30 minutes to clean. To minimize time spent washing dishes, before you begin cooking, fill the sink with hot, soapy water and clean pans and kitchen implements as you go along so you donít end up with a sink full of dirty dishes.
* Host a party that practically cleans up after itself. Look for one-pot and crock pot recipes or make it a potluck party and send guests home with the leftovers.
* Simplify gift-giving. Consider giving edible gifts or gift certificates rather than packaged goods. The last thing most of us need is more stuff. Or draw names to give gifts to only one family member, eliminating the need to buy for everyone. Itís a good idea to have a few simple, inexpensive gifts on hand -- a small box of gourmet chocolates, tin of cookies, or candle for unexpected guests as well as hostesses, teachers and anyone you may have forgotten.
* Wrap it up. Gather holiday gift wrapping supplies and store them all together. If you need to buy gift wrap, consider limiting wraps to one or two and use the same color ribbon and bows on all of your gifts.
* Play your cards right. If youíre planning to send holiday cards, do it in stages. Buy your stamps online to avoid long lines at the post office. Then personalize your cards, address the envelopes, stamp and seal them. Do it during television commercials over a few nights and youíll be done in no time.
* Plan ahead. Make a list of things that need doing before guests arrive -- everything from dusting to decorating the tree. Ask family members to choose the tasks they wouldnít mind doing. Assign the tasks no one likes doing. Then schedule a time to get the job done together as a family. Play some holiday music to get into the spirit.
For more holiday tips, please visit www.quickholidaycleanup.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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